Christmas Waste Management Tips

Garbage & Recycling Tips for the Christmas Holidays:

The holidays are a time for giving, but did you know that more waste is generated during this season than at any other time of year? Here are some tips on how to give, decorate, and entertain during the holiday season while still keeping the environment in mind.

  • Paper boxboard (cereal-type boxes) can be recycled with your other paper recycling.
  • Save gift wrap, bows, ribbons, cards etc. for use next year.
  • Coloured and foil wrap, gift bags, bows, and ribbon that are no longer able to be reused go in the garbage.
  • Corrugated cardboard is bundled and placed next to paper recycling.
  • Give old toys and clothing to a charitable organization instead of throwing them away.

Reduce waste during the holidays – Think outside the gift box!

Here are some great gift ideas that help reduce waste

  • Tickets to a play, concert, or sporting event.
  • Gift certificate for dinner, club membership, or a spa treatment.
  • Services like babysitting, breakfast in bed, or a piano lesson.
  • Homemade cookies or bread, jams or preserves.
  • Reusable food containers or lunch bags.
  • Donation to an environmental organization or charity.
  • Reusable coffee mug.
  • Environmentally friendly bath and beauty products.

Gift wrap, cards and tags – Make the wrapping part of the gift!

  • Baskets, glass jar, cookie tin, reusable gift bag, tea towels.
  • Use comics, old maps, or last year’s wrapping/tissue paper.
  • Decorate newsprint or scrap paper with rubber stamps, paint, or potato stamps.
  • Use old gift wrap and cards to make gift tags.
  • Decorate old shoe boxes.
  • Decorate gifts with pine cones, dried berries, or flowers.

Tree Decorating:

If you choose to use artificial, buy a quality reusable Christmas tree and decorations that will last. Some opt to use potted plants that will bring enjoyment after the holidays.

  • Make decorations from reusable or compostable materials.
  • Garland using popcorn and berries.


  • Use reusable plates and cutlery when entertaining.
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper.
  • If you must use disposable plates, choose paper which can go in the green cart for composting. Also note that Styrofoam TM plates and cups can be recycled if rinsed clean and placed in the recycling bag with other containers and recyclable plastics.


  • Reuse cardboard boxes for mailing gifts.
  • Use newspaper instead of Styrofoam packing chips.
  • Mailing gift certificates or tickets will save on packaging and postage.
  • Call or email invitations to party guests instead of sending paper invitations.
  • Send e-cards instead of paper cards.